Alibaba, the massive Chinese e-commerce company set to IPO in the U.S. later this year, just launched 11 Main, its first online storefront in the U.S.
11 main is currently in an invitation-only “beta” test version, but it features a wide range of products, including art, toys, home furnishings, jewelry, and clothes. As on Amazon or eBay, merchants will be able to set up their own shops on the site, though 11 Main is gearing itself towards a selection of specialty shops and boutiques that make products not available anywhere else.
Mike Effle will be the site’s president (Alibaba acquired Vendio, the startup where he was CEO, in 2010) and he told TechCrunch that 11 Main products will be “about one third as expensive as other large branded marketplaces.”
The site currently lists about 500,000 products, and about half the merchants are existing Alibaba customers. 11 Main will charge a 3.5% sales commission. (For reference, eBay charges as much as 10%).
Here’s are some screenshots of what the site’s homepage will look like: